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Oxytocin and vasopressin receptor distributions in a solitary and a social species of tuco-tuco (Ctenomys haigi and Ctenomys sociabilis)



Oxytocin and vasopressin receptor distributions in a solitary and a social species of tuco-tuco (Ctenomys haigi and Ctenomys sociabilis)



Journal of Comparative Neurology 507(6): 1847-1859



The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin and their receptors have been implicated in elements of mammalian social behavior such as attachment to mates and offspring, but their potential role in mediating other types of social relationships remains largely unknown. We performed receptor autoradiography to assess whether forebrain oxytocin receptor (OTR) or vasopressin V1a receptor (V1aR) distributions differed with social structure in two closely related and ecologically similar species of South American rodents, the colonial tuco-tuco (Ctenomys sociabilis) and the Patagonian tuco-tuco (Ctenomys haigi). Long-term field studies have revealed that C. haigi is solitary, whereas C. sociabilis is social and provides a model of female-based group living. Our analyses revealed marked differences in OTR and V1aR distributions between these species. For example, only C. sociabilis had OTR binding in the piriform cortex and thalamus and V1aR binding in the olfactory bulbs. In contrast, C. haigi exhibited dramatically higher levels of OTR binding throughout the lateral septum and hippocampus. More generally, the group-living C. sociabilis exhibited a pattern of nucleus accumbens OTR and ventral pallidum V1aR binding different from that associated with the formation of opposite-sex pair bonds in microtine rodents. Higher binding in the central nucleus of the amygdala of C. sociabilis was consistent with the hypothesis that formation of social groups in C. sociabilis may be facilitated by reduced social anxiety. Low OTR binding in the lateral septum might also be a permissive factor for group living in C. sociabilis. Future studies will expand on these analyses to explore interspecific differences in ctenomyid receptor binding patterns in a phylogenetic context.

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Accession: 021514774

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 18271022

DOI: 10.1002/cne.21638


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